What Six Words Best Describe You?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.


Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 9.29.18 PMDo you know who you are?

Do you know yourself well enough to be able to define “you” in just six words?



The concept isn’t new.  In fact, it seems to have been done in various models over the years, but I did it personally just a couple of months ago (more on that in a minute.).  The first documentation that I can find, is in the legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a novel in just six words.  He wrote a heart-wrenching story.


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Wow!  Less is definitely more here, isn’t it?


Predicated upon the Hemingway story, Larry Smith, in Smith Magazine (2006) challenged people to write a six-word personal memoir.  The compiled result was Not Quite What I Was Planning, a collection of six-word self-expressions written by an eclectic mix of people.  Some famous – some not so.  The point was to answer the question, “Who am I?”



In the book, you’ll find statements like:

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“Sometimes lonely in a crowded bed”


“I’m a Muslim. not a terrorist.”


“Life is better with headphones on.”


“Found true love, married someone else”


“Big dreams.  Big heart.  Big mouth.”


and one of my personal favorites:

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I find this kind of thing absolutely fascinating!!!


Fast forward to my experience a couple of months ago.  My sister-in-law took a class where each person was asked to identify the six words they would use to describe themselves.  Once they were done, they were then instructed to ask friends and family to describe them in six words.



Clearly, I had to try this myself.


I’ve done a similar thing with MANY clients.  Not six words, but identifying differences in their perception of self and other people’s view of them.


I ask people to tell me 3-5 things they would like to change about themselves.  This is never difficult and, in fact many people can easily identify many more than 5 things they don’t like.


That’s an incredibly sad statement because when I ask them to identify 3-5 things they love about themselves, many struggle – to even just get 3.



I  can easily – and do – write them a list of wonderful qualities they have.  It’s easy for me.  I’m on the outside looking in.  But I can’t change them.  I can’t gift them self-confidence.



To really know yourself, to really identify areas where you’re struggling, you have to look inward.  




To begin, I ask people this,


If I were to go to the people who love you the most, and ask them to tell me 3-5 things they love about you, what would they say?


I want to write more about that!!!!  But for now, back to the six-words.


I picked:

  • Resilient
  • Over-achiever
  • Adventuresome
  • Hard-working
  • Empathic
  • Introverted
The words I received from friends and family were:
  • Brave (I got this word multiple times and I found that intriguing.  I don’t see myself as “brave”.  I know that I’m scared sometimes but I just do “it” anyway.  I refuse to let fear stop me.  That – evidently – IS bravery to others who don’t feel my fear but merely see my actions.)
  • Driven / Motivated (also a couple of times) – – I equate both of these his to my own identification of “over-achiever” and/or “hard-working”
  • Curious  (ah….so very true!)
  • Athletic (a couple of times)
  • Authentic (this was my very favorite label)
  • Alpha
  • Moody  (t’s fair – I don’t view any of these words as “good” or “bad”.  I DO have a lot of moods and I’m a very passionate/emotional being).
  • Adventuresome
  • Family-oriented (multiple times)
  • Smart
  • Motivated
I learned something about myself in this exercise and I think you will too.  What six words would you use to describe yourself?  After you’ve done that, ask a few family and friends (people who know you quite well) to give you six words.  Don’t judge – yourself nor them.  Don’t take the words personally – you’re asking for an honest assessment.


  1. That’s interesting. I’ve had this asked me during job interviews. I almost always say:
    enthusiastic. energetic and quick
    I think others have applied courageous, adventuresome, strong and Godly to me as well.
    Thanks for this reminder.

    1. I love all of those words!!! 🙂

  2. This is great. Words that come to me are passionate, positive, enthusiastic, energentic, empathic and intuitive.

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